Bacary Sagna has revealed how he was left questioning Arsenal’s ambition after they sold star striker Robin van Persie to fierce rivals Manchester United in 2012.
After failing to convince the Dutchman to sign a new contract, the Gunners allowed Van Persie to make a controversial £24million move to Old Trafford.
He went on to score 26 goals in his first season, helping Sir Alex Ferguson’s side win the Premier League title while Arsenal finished in fourth place.
Sagna has opened up on how losing an ‘animal’ like Van Persie affected both his mood and belief that the north London side could challenge for trophies.
‘I got upset, not when [Cesc] Fabregas left – because that was quite an obvious move – not when [Samir] Nasri left, but when Robin left,’ Sagna, who played for the club between 2007 and 2014, told Goal.
‘It was like a statement from the club. He left in a way that no-one understood because he was flying.
‘He was a different type of player. An animal on the pitch, a goalscoring machine. When he left, I wondered why Arsenal didn’t try more to keep him.’
Sagna and Arsenal lifted the FA Cup two years after Van Persie was sold to United, but they failed to mount a serious title challenge.
‘Even if they had to spend lots of money [to replace Van Persie], just do it because you have to spend money to get another player,’ the Frenchman added.
‘And if you want to win something, it’s going to take time for that player to adapt.
‘I didn’t understand that and Alex Song’s move. The two of them left at the same time and I found out reading the French press. That got me really upset.’
Sagna left Arsenal for Manchester City in 2014 and spent three years at the Etihad before a brief spells in Italy and Major League Soccer.